What, in your opinion, are the worst aspects of product management?

Which aspects of being a PM are the most painful?

If you had a magic wand which could help you vanish the worst part of your job, what would that be?


Some of the worst aspects of product management include dealing with conflicting priorities and demands from stakeholders, as well as the challenge of managing and prioritizing a constantly evolving roadmap. Additionally, product managers often face the pressure of delivering results within tight deadlines while navigating limited resources and budget constraints.


In my opinion, some of the most painful aspects of being a product manager include the constant need to make difficult decisions and trade-offs, as well as the responsibility of owning the success or failure of a product. Another challenging aspect is managing cross-functional teams and ensuring effective communication and collaboration among different departments, which can sometimes lead to conflicts and delays in decision-making processes.


If I could wave a magic wand, the worst part of my job that I would eliminate is the endless paperwork and administrative tasks. These time-consuming responsibilities often take away from the more meaningful and creative aspects of my work. Additionally, I would love to see any unnecessary meetings disappear, as they can sometimes feel like a drain on productivity and hinder progress.


IMO, everyone who believes their arbitrary theories about one’s personal characteristics are equally valid as those supported by solid research. While it is important to respect individuals’ perspectives and opinions, it is crucial to differentiate between subjective beliefs and evidence-based knowledge. Scientific research follows rigorous methodologies and undergoes peer review to establish reliable conclusions. Relying solely on arbitrary theories may lead to misunderstandings and hinder our understanding of complex human characteristics.
However, it is important to note that theories supported by solid research are more likely to provide accurate insights into the role of a product manager. These theories are based on empirical evidence and have undergone rigorous testing, making them more reliable in understanding the qualities and skills required for success in this role.


Absolutely agree… The organization should only believe someone’s ideas have any merit if they can embody a customer through day-to-day encounters and demonstrate they understand the customer.


My worst pain point is dealing with CEOs who don’t have any product or technical knowledge but believe they do. This lack of knowledge often leads to ineffective decision-making and a disconnect between the CEO’s vision and the practical realities of product development. It becomes challenging to effectively communicate the limitations and possibilities of technology, resulting in wasted time and resources on misguided initiatives.


Or even worse, technical acumen but zero product. Let’s not talk to any users, heads down build for 8 months, and then make excuses for why no one’s using the product. It is crucial to strike a balance between technical expertise and understanding user needs. Neglecting user feedback and solely focusing on development for an extended period can result in a product that fails to meet market demands. To ensure success, it is essential to actively engage with users throughout the development process and iterate based on their valuable insights.


“But why would I need user research? I already know what the customer wants!”

Assumption-based product decisions are a top 5 bug bear.


@FelipeRibeiro Wow, you really brought up a crucial point. If you can provide an example to further explain, that would be excellent.


I’m referring a condition YC dubs “Fake Steve Jobs.” It occurs when someone mistakenly believes they are Steve Jobs, but their knowledge of him comes from fictional accounts rather than what he actually accomplished in real life. AKA believing that they can simply concoct thoughts out of thin air and that they will magically materialize. The problem with technical founders is that they believe they are wiser than everyone else, so instead of going through the same product processes that everyone else does, they bypass them entirely. When there is no traction, they then make up reasons to protect their ego. My experience has been that they go all in! “Well, obviously, we need to focus on building for another eight months before users start using it!”


The paradox is that while everyone else around them oversteps and wants to syndicate features, the majority of product managers will constantly doubt themselves. This self-doubt stems from the immense responsibility that product managers bear in ensuring the success of their products. They are constantly questioning their decisions and seeking validation to avoid any potential missteps or failures. However, this paradoxical nature also drives them to continuously improve and strive for excellence in their role.


Product management can be a rewarding and impactful role, but like any profession, it comes with its challenges and downsides. Some of the worst parts of product management include:

  1. Balancing Priorities: Product managers often have to juggle multiple priorities, including customer needs, business goals, and technical constraints. Finding the right balance can be difficult and stressful.

  2. Uncertainty: The product development process is inherently uncertain, with many unknown variables. This can lead to frustration and anxiety, especially when things don’t go as planned.

  3. Constant Decision-Making: Product managers are responsible for making numerous decisions every day, ranging from small feature tweaks to major strategic choices. Decision fatigue can set in quickly.

  4. Communication Challenges: Product managers need to communicate effectively with cross-functional teams, stakeholders, and customers. Miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings and project delays.

  5. Handling Feedback: Collecting and processing feedback from customers, team members, and stakeholders is crucial, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when it’s negative or conflicting.

  6. Pressure to Deliver: There is often pressure to deliver results quickly, which can lead to stress and burnout. Balancing the need for speed with the need for quality can be challenging.

  7. Dealing with Scope Creep: Managing scope creep—when new features or requirements are added without proper evaluation—can be frustrating and impact project timelines and budgets.

  8. Resource Constraints: Product managers may have to work with limited resources, including time, budget, and personnel, which can make it difficult to execute their vision.

  9. Accountability for Failure: Product managers are often held accountable for the success or failure of a product, even when factors beyond their control come into play.

  10. Continuous Learning: The field of product management is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest tools, methodologies, and trends can be demanding.

  11. Organizational Politics: Navigating internal politics and competing interests within an organization can be challenging and hinder decision-making.

  12. Long Working Hours: Meeting project deadlines and managing global teams may require long working hours, leading to work-life balance challenges.

It’s important to note that while these challenges can be daunting, many product managers find the role to be highly rewarding and fulfilling. Success in product management often comes from developing effective strategies to address these challenges and learning from both successes and failures.


Here are some more dark aspects of product management, according to professionals in the field:

  1. Balancing Stakeholder Expectations: Product managers often need to navigate conflicting priorities and expectations from various stakeholders, including executives, customers, developers, and designers. Finding a balance that serves the product’s goals while meeting the needs of different parties can be challenging.

  2. Limited Resources: Working within resource constraints, such as budget, time, and team capacity, can hinder product managers from fully realizing their vision for a product. Prioritizing features and initiatives with limited resources is a constant struggle.

  3. Handling Failure and Criticism: Products may fail, features may not meet expectations, or a product might not gain traction. Managing and learning from failures while dealing with criticism from stakeholders can be emotionally and professionally challenging.

  4. Uncertainty and Ambiguity: Product management often involves dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity, especially in the early stages of product development. Decisions need to be made based on incomplete information, and the success of a product can sometimes be unpredictable.

  5. Reactive Problem-Solving: Product managers frequently find themselves in reactive mode, addressing urgent issues or fires that need to be put out. This can divert focus from strategic, long-term planning and inhibit proactive product development.

  6. Constantly Changing Landscape: Technology, market trends, and consumer preferences evolve rapidly, necessitating continuous adaptation and staying up-to-date. This constant change requires product managers to be highly flexible and responsive.

  7. Overlapping Roles and Responsibilities: The scope of product management can vary widely across organizations, and sometimes there can be overlap with roles like project management, marketing, or strategy. Clarifying responsibilities and avoiding duplications can be a challenge.

  8. Communication and Alignment: Effectively communicating the product vision, strategy, and roadmap to the entire team and ensuring alignment among various teams and stakeholders is crucial. Miscommunication or misalignment can lead to delays and inefficiencies.

  9. Pressure to Deliver Results: Product managers often face pressure to deliver results quickly, whether it’s achieving specific metrics, meeting deadlines, or hitting revenue targets. This pressure can lead to stress and burnout if not managed effectively.

  10. User Expectations and Feedback: Meeting and managing user expectations, incorporating user feedback, and continuously iterating based on user needs can be demanding. Balancing user desires with business goals and technical feasibility is an ongoing challenge.

Despite these challenges, many professionals find product management to be rewarding due to the opportunity to innovate, lead impactful projects, and shape the direction of a product. It’s essential to weigh these challenges against the positive aspects and potential for growth and fulfillment in the field.


Yeah this is the painful part. There is very little understand how difficult this job is. How much everything changes all the time and how product managers need to evolve all the time to stay relevant.


I want to express nearly everything, but I’m a little exhausted.

  • Loud-mouthed executives and leaders that receive large salaries and bonuses without having any real plans, these people are really subpar where I work; they wing it and make 10 times as much money as other workers. While some of them are sharp, 90% of them could be changed tomorrow with no negative effects.

  • Not being allowed to take a break to reflect on the features you’re constructing while being driven to produce them continuously.

  • Because your leadership is unable to say no, enterprise customers are requesting everything under the sun.

  • Although I presently have a very lucky team, arrogant or stubborn UX people can hinder progress and collaboration.

It is important to have individuals who are open to feedback and willing to adapt their designs based on user needs. Additionally, having a diverse team with different perspectives can greatly enhance the overall quality of the user experience.

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I could feel bullets 2 and 4 in my bones, the relentless pressure to produce without ever being allowed the chance to reflect. I’ve also had to deal with a ton of arrogant product/UX designers.

My current one was so patronizing the first month I switched teams to his, until we entered user research and he completely botched it, forcing me to clean up his mess in the middle of a meeting. Since then, he has been OK. He acknowledged that he initially mistook me for a project manager and that he had to learn what a product manager did. Actually, I was a little taken aback.

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@Nathanendicott, there’s a lot of overlap with UX and product.

The problem is product has usually spent a lot of time already talking to customers in various scenarios, worked with CS, and has a pretty good gut feel on what’s needed.

UX wants to spend 3 months doing “user research” on every problem, only to usually end up with either something you already know or could have resolved with 2 hours of chats with random customers, or they come back with super generic high level commentary about features that don’t matter.

Like, maybe just maybe we don’t need to spend 3 months researching a login form.